Spanish and Italian are much closer than Italian and French

Brennus   Mon Jan 09, 2006 6:08 am GMT
I forgot to mention that the Venetian dialect of Italian is also considered by some Romance linguists to be one of the closer ones to Spanish even though it is spoken in northern Italy.

Not too far from Venice, on the Yugoslavian coast, was once spoken another Romance language called Dalmatian. The last speaker of the language , Tuone Udaina died in 1898 - killed in a mine explosion. It had some Spanish and Portuguese-like characteristics too like naun "no" (Portuguese não), tentatiaun "temptation" (Portuguese tentação), el juarbul "the tree" (Sp. el árbol ), el pun nuester "our bread" (Sp. el nuestro pan) and la semajna "the week" (Sp. la semana) but Italian l'albero, il nostro pane, settemana, Romanian arburele, pâinea noastrã, sãptamânã.

The similarities between Dalmatian and Spanish were not due to any genealogical relationship between the two peoples (the Dalmatians were closer related to the Greeks) but simply a shared type of Vulgar Latin. Illyria (Dalmatia) and the Iberian Peninsula (Spain & Portugal) were both conquered by the Romans at the same period of time in history and exposed to basically the same Latin...Latin as it was spoken in the 2nd century B.C.
greg   Mon Jan 09, 2006 6:57 am GMT
Un texte en vénitien :

« Benvegnui su ła Wikipedia en łéngoa vèneta!

Ła Wikipedia ła xe na enzsiclopedia łibara e moltiłengue. Ła version en vèneto de ła Wikipedia en sto atimo ła cónta 35 arthicołi. Łe discusion łe va fate rento el bar. Łe candidadure e votazsion xe sconimzsià!
Avertense: ła łéngua vèneda no ła gà gnancóra na grafia e na łengoa onefegà e no tuti i xe boni a scrivare en te ona de łe tante ke ghe xe. No xe inportante se ki xe drio scrivare el scriva en padoàn, veronexe, vixentin, venezsian, bełunexe o trevisan. No el xe inportante manco se ki scrive el va scriver co na grafia difarente da łe altre. Par ki vol, pò vedare su sto sito on par de consiji pa scrivare en moo ke tuti i posa intendare coxa ke se scrive o anca se pòłe vardar ła convenzsion de scritura par capirse tuti mejo. Manco i açenti no i xe obligatori, a men ke no ghe sipia do parołe ke łe canbia significà se no łe gà l'açento. Co ke calkedun scrivarà on articoło el podarà inserir el stub ke ghe dixe ai altri en ke diałeto l'è scrito. Par exerçitarte in Wikipedia va su a Sandbox. Par vedar quałi diałeti se pò siełiere, vardar quà. »

La carte linguistique de l'Italie : .
Brennus   Mon Jan 09, 2006 7:36 am GMT
Merci beaucoup, Greg.
Gjones2   Mon Jan 09, 2006 8:55 am GMT
That does look fairly close. The crossed 'l' is strange, though, the 'ke' for 'que', and the 'à' and 'ç'. I gather from the excerpt that writers may have some uncertainty about how to spell the various sounds.

>Ła version en vèneto de ła Wikipedia en sto atimo ła cónta 35 arthicołi.

So does this version of Wikipedia contain 35 artichokes? :-) I'll guess articles.
Catalanòfon   Mon Jan 09, 2006 8:56 am GMT
Dear Brennus,

What you call "Spanish like characteristics" can be explained through Occitan and Catalan. I just can't understand a Romance language discussion, which doesn't bear in mind all the continuum and just speaks of languages with a state behind (although, I repeat, Catalan is official in a great part of Eastern Spain).

One can definitely feel the Gal·lo-Romanic influence in northern Italian dialects (French, Occitan and Catalan)

Venetian: Benvegnui su Occitan and Old Catalan: benvingut sus Contemporary Catalan: Benvingut sobre Castilian: Bienvenido en (su =sobre) French: Bienvenue sur

Venetian: Altre Catalan: Altres Occitan: Autres Castilian: Otros

Venetian: Le Candidature Catalan: Les Candidatures French: Les Candidatures Castilian: Las Candidaturas

Venitian: Par ki vol Catalan: Per qui vol (pronounced exactly the same way in Catalan and Venetian) Castilian: Para quien quiere. English: For who wants

Venetian: A men ke Catalan: A menys que (ny= palatal n) pronounced almost exactly the same in Venetian and Catalan Castilian: A menos que English: Unless

Venetian: De le tante ke Catalan: De les tantes que Spanish De las tantas que. English: Of the many

Co ke calkedun: Medieval and dialectal Catalan: Ço que qualque d'un (pronounced almost the same in Venetian and Catalan) Castilian: Lo que algunos English That which some.

Anyway, Venetian is definitely an Italic language and the biggest closeness is with the Italic continuum (including modern Standard Italian). It is also a "bridge language" towards Occitan and Catalan and, to the north and to a lesser degree, French.
Gjones2   Mon Jan 09, 2006 8:57 am GMT
>I would have thought that "La gente" in Spanish was singular too... [Tiffany]

I believe it usually is. Google results (Spanish-language sites)

"la gente es" 438,000
"la gente son" 32,700

I read through the thread quickly, and it seems to me that the disagreement has been mostly about a few isolated remarks. People seem to agree about most of what has been said.
Gjones2   Mon Jan 09, 2006 9:18 am GMT
I suppose I'll add my two cents as well. My judgment is from the point of view of a native speaker of English, who learned Spanish first, then later added a reading knowledge of French, Italian, and Portuguese. I studied the pronunciation of these languages but except for Spanish didn't learn to speak them well enough to carry on a real conversation.

Dr. Costa, I agree with your initial statement that Italian is closer to Spanish than to French (the sounds, obviously, and the syntax and vocabulary too). I wouldn't say, though, that "Italian and Spanish are the most related romance languages." I'll leave out Catalan for the moment because I don't know it well enough to judge, but it seems to me that Spanish is closer to Portuguese than to Italian (the Italian that I've seen in books and heard on the radio -- I don't know about the southern dialects that you mention).

The sounds of Spanish and Portuguese are quite different in many ways, so I suppose that Italian is closer there, but in vocabulary and syntax Portuguese seems closer. Despite the difference in sounds I can understand most of what's said in Portuguese (by radio announcers speaking clearly) after very little study of that language, but I understand no more than the gist of Italian (once again by radio announcers, probably from northern Italy, and speaking clearly -- I'm not familiar with the various accents). Even though the Italian sounds are clearer, I can still understand Portuguese better because I know more of the words. I can get accustomed to the different Portuguese pronunciation, but when Italian uses a word with an entirely different root, one that I don't know, there's not much I can do about that.

Of the three languages French, Spanish, and Italian, French seems the most different. I can read it more easily than Italian, but that's probably because of the many French words that came into English rather than because of what I know of Spanish. Also I've had more practice reading French itself than Italian. (This may have affected Aldo too -- he said he studied French in high school. Also, as with native speakers of English, Spanish speakers who study English will see many words that are spelled identically in French.) I'd suppose that for native Spanish speakers reading Portuguese is easiest, then probably Italian followed by French (though for reading alone a little extra study of French might make it easier than Italian). I can understand spoken French slightly better than Italian, but undoubtedly this is because of more study. The French sound system is complex and differs more from Spanish than Italian does.

To me Catalan seems to fall somewhere between Spanish and French (with links to Italian too, but I know Spanish and French better so I see it in terms of those languages). A couple of decades ago I skimmed through a grammatical description and read some old Catalan literary works (also I read a good many Catalan posts on the early bulletin boards). I don't remember enough about Catalan, though, to make judgments of my own.
n   Mon Jan 09, 2006 9:20 am GMT
"Catalan influenced the dialect of Naples and also Sicilian. The only two "Spanish" popes (the Borgia known as Borja in Catalan) actually were Catalans from near Valencia in Spain and all their documents are in Catalan.

So it does not work, if italian is close to catalan, italian is closer to french. Catalan has a lot of similarities with french, spanish does not have.

A few exemple,

mangiare, parlar...

So, the Dr Costa theory does not work.

+ he admitted he does not speak french, so how can he compare.

Guest   Mon Jan 09, 2006 9:23 am GMT

True, catalan is related to french and spanish. in fact Catalan and occitan are really close.
Guest   Mon Jan 09, 2006 9:32 am GMT

"Il n'est pas possible, dans une faculté à lettres française, de presenter un thèse doctorale en occitan sur les troubadours occitans! Et je n'invente rien mon très cher Grégoire. "

ça c'est absolument faux, puisque mon cousin en a fait une sur Frédéric Mistral.
Guest   Mon Jan 09, 2006 10:21 am GMT
The similarities in grammar are for example:

1) ser/estar= Spanish, Italian, Portuguese
2) concordance (nouns and adjectives)= Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French
3) usage of the subjunctive (in order of importance IMO)= Spanish, French & Italian (a tie). I can't comment regarding Portuguese.
4) Reflexive verbs (verbs that are reflexive in these languages are not in English in some cases)= Spanish, French (I can't comment on Italian & Portuguese)
5) L'accord du participe passé (one aspect of this rule)= French only (and not easy for everyone).
6) Verbs= certain verb tenses are more commonly used than others= Spanish stands out here compared to French and Italian.
Catalanòfon   Mon Jan 09, 2006 10:40 am GMT
C'est, donc,ta parole contre la mienne. Je ne dis pas qu'il n'y est pas de thèses sur autheurs occitans en langue occitane. Ce que je dis c'est qu'elles doivent être, obligatoirement, defendues en français. Et j'en connais quelques uns qui n'ont pas pu le faire autrement.

Tu ne voudras pas me faire croire que l'occitan est protegé au niveau que d'autres états europeens protègent leur patrimoine lingüistique et culturel?
greg   Mon Jan 09, 2006 12:33 pm GMT
Je penche plutôt du côté de Catalanòfon : le français est la seule langue officielle en France et ça ne m'étonnerait pas qu'il soit impossible de soutenir une thèse dans une autre langue (quel que soit le sujet).
bernard   Mon Jan 09, 2006 12:34 pm GMT
"Dr C", semblait nous faire part d'une idée reçue, confirmée par le sentiment et l'impression orale, que l'Italien et l'Espagnol seraient les deux langues latines possédant le plus de similarités... En tant que Francophone c'est ce que j'ai cru durant de longues années, et c'est en général ce que pensent les gens qui n'ont jamais étudié ces deux langues.
Pendant des années, je ne connaissais pas l'Italien, j'avais le sentiment qu'il s'agissait quasiment d'une forme d'Espagnol avec un accent différent et une écriture légèrement différente. Je pensais alors, comme beaucoup, que le Français n'était pas réellement une langue latine (à cause des terminaisons "brutales" principalement) - Sans les "o" et "a" finaux, j'avais l'impression que le Français ne pouvait être que très différent de l'Espagnol et l'Italien (ceci fut peut être aussi accentué par le fait que la France soit située bien plus au nord de l'Europe, d'où l'idée (assez fausse) que la langue serait très "celtique" et "germanique".

Mon opinion a commencé à changer lorsque j'ai commencé à apprendre l'Italien et paralellement appronfondi mon apprentissage de l'espagnol.
J'ai découvert que l'Italien et l'Espagnol possédaient un certain nombre de divergences dans le vocabulaire, la grammaire (ex: pluriel), et même au niveau de la prononciation - et j'ai pu découvrir le grand nombre de ressemblances lexicales entre le Français et l'Italien qui n'existent pas en Espagnol. J'ai une amie Italienne qui me dit la même chose, elle percevait le Français comme une langue très différente de l'Italien (car elle apparait et "sonne" moins "latine"), avant de l'apprendre, et ensuite a été surprise par les similarités qu'elle considère aujourd'hui plus importantes qu'avec l'Espagnol.
Inversement beaucoup d'amis Espagnols m'ont dit qu'il était plus facile pour eux de comprendre l'Italien à l'oral, mais que le Français était plus facile à comprendre dans sa forme écrite. Celà vient du fait que l'Italien possède une graphie assez diférente : ex: Que(es) - Que(Fr) - Che(it)
The french and spanish forms are writted the same way, but the spanish and Italian are pronounced the same way.

Finalement je pense que ces trois langues "Italien, Français, Espagnol", qui sont les trois principales langues romanes en Europe, ont chacune des similitudes avec une autre, que la troisième partage ou non. Tout dépend du point de vue et de ce que l'on compare. Comme beacoup l'on fait remarquer, le catalan et l'Occitan font figure de "langue romanes médianes", partageant des caractéristiques de l'Espagnol, du Français et de l'Italien en même temps.
bernard   Mon Jan 09, 2006 12:37 pm GMT
Comme beacoup l'on fait remarquer = comme beaucoup l'ont fait remarquer